What do you eat before a workout?
I’ve written about HOW to eat before a workout before. But I’ve come to realize that when people ask this question, they’re not looking for guidelines, but rather the specific foods that they can make — without having to think about it — to prime their bodies for a workout.
So the goal here isn’t to get that little half-percent edge on competition by being meticulous in your pre-workout nutrition. (For that, check out Ben Greenfield’s workout nutrition post and this one on 12-Minute Athlete about pre-workout meals.)
Instead it’s to eat something natural and quick, without a lot of planning, that’ll getting you 90 percent of the way towards perfect.
So that’s the motivation for this list: 8 simple, natural meals or snacks — vegan, of course — to eat before a workout. The criteria I aim for in choosing a pre-workout meal:
- Lots of carbohydrate, a little bit of protein (a 3:1 ratio is best, but you don’t need to be exact with it)
- Whole foods, with just a few exceptions where it will benefit performance
- No caffeine — no doubt it helps performance, but for everyday nutrition I leave it out
I’ve divided them into categories based on when you should eat each. If you’ve got the time and aren’t worried about getting too many calories (say, for a weight loss goal) eat one from each category before a big race or workout; otherwise eat only the just-before-the-workout meal.